"The Cape 1969" #2 brings the IDW miniseries by Jason Ciaramella and Nelson Daniel back around to where it needs to be. Our crashed war hero has been taken prisoner of war in a Vietnamese camp and things get intensely nasty. The warped and mystical aspects of the tale finally start to come into play during this issue, making this war comic something different with the addition of one character and his amazing ability.
The central scenario revolves around the brutality of war and the terrible things men do to each other. It's a fitting premise, considering the first mini of "The Cape" was pretty much the same thing. The only difference is the first series looked at its cause through apathy and internal mistrust. "The Cape 1962" brings the black heart of man out through the brutality of war and a sense of honor through dishonor that plagues all men of violence at some stage during their careers. The despicable threats leveled at our lead to rouse him to action are fantastically deranged and Jason Ciaramella pulls no punches bringing out the worst in man.
The rest of the issue is a grueling fight scene where two men enter and only one can leave. Such grave finality is always a prod in the back of an inactive man. The army man and the mystical man fight tooth and claw to gain the upper hand in a dragged out, bare-knuckle brawl through mud, water and air. It is a shame to see a good man brought low but it is better than watching him die a horrible death.
By the end of the issue, things have changed and the Macguffin is finally where it needs to be to both advance the plot and bring the story together. The issue ends on a very cool moment that sets up the next installment perfectly. The main fault in Ciaramella's script is pacing -- he gives the action respectable room to breathe, but the rest's only function is to allow the issue to end on the right beat without going too far into the story. Scenes chew up pages when it doesn't make sense from a stylistic or narrative perspective.
Nelson Daniel's art is bleak and brown, which is fitting for the story as it wears you down as the landscape helps wear down any POW. The action and intensity of the main event fight are shown in a variety of ways, ensuring the movements don't feel regurgitated or become boring. Once the blood starts flowing, it's like a crimson wake up call splashed on the page. Daniel knows how to sell the large moments whether they are for spectacular amazement or emotional solitude.
"The Cape 1969" #2 is the issue that brings everything together after the introductory issue established the story and characters. The fight here is gritty and brilliant but still feels like a pre-cursor to the big switch up of the flight ability finally entering the story as a major player. Next month is going to be a real opportunity for this title and these two issues of build certainly bode well enough for them.